This Week: Retail sales, housing starts, home sales

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week

RETAILER CHECKUP

The Commerce Department delivers its December snapshot of U.S. retail sales Wednesday.

Economists expect that holiday spending helped boost purchases at retailers 0.4% last month from November. That would follow a 0.3% rise in November. American consumers, a huge engine for economic growth in the U.S., hit the stores, shopped online, went out to restaurants or traveled for much of last year, despite elevated prices.

FILE - Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo testifies during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing Oct. 4, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Commerce Department on Oct. 17 updated and broadened its export controls to stop China from acquiring advanced computer chips and the equipment to manufacture them. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

Retail sales, monthly percent change, seasonally adjusted:

July 0.6

Aug. 0.7

Sept. 0.8

Oct. -0.2

Nov. 0.3

Dec. (est.) 0.4

Source: FactSet

TRACKING HOME CONSTRUCTION

New government data on residential construction should provide insight into the state of the new-home market.

The Commerce Department is expected to report Thursday that builders broke ground on new apartments and single-family homes last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 1.43 million units. That would represent a pullback from November, when housing starts surged by nearly 15% from October to the highest level in six months.

Housing starts, monthly, seasonally adjusted annual rate:

July 1,451,000

Aug. 1,305,000

Sept. 1,356,000

Oct. 1,359,000

Nov. 1,560,000

Dec. (est.) 1,433,000

Source: FactSet

HOUSING MARKET BAROMETER

The National Association of Realtors releases its December tally of U.S. home sales Friday.

Analysts forecast that the pace of sales of previously occupied U.S. homes held steady last month with November’s annual rate of 3.82 million homes. Sales edged higher in November, ending a five-month skid, as easing mortgage rates provided some breathing room for prospective homebuyers. Still, sales are being held back by a persistent dearth of homes on the market.

Existing home sales, in millions, seasonally adjusted annual rate:

July 4.07

Aug. 4.04

Sept. 3.95

Oct. 3.79

Nov. 3.82

Dec. (est.) 3.82

Source: FactSet

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